‘Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27
Have we seen them on the corner? Have we passed them on the street? These are the ones holding the sign that says, “Will work for food.” Maybe we have dropped them a coin. Maybe we wondered secretly to ourselves just how sincere their commitment to work really is. But the bottom line is that they have a need. They are hungry. They have realized that they need to get from somewhere, something that will help them survive. We too have surely felt it. We know that we go to work to supply our families with food. We dedicate much of our lives to the toil of bringing in the daily bread. We have bills to pay.
How then can Jesus tell us as He told those long ago, “Don´t work for food that spoils?” We can hear Him urging us to seek something more substantial from God. We know He is trying to tell us that we need to make our eternal health vibrant. But where is Jesus going with His teaching? Is He telling us to be like those unfortunates who beg on the street? Are we to be irresponsible with our earthly lives? Or is Jesus touching on a very fundamental direction of our faith? Is He laying the foundation for our lives? Is He trying to tell us where our focus needs to be? If we could get to a point where we are responsible in this one area, would all the other areas in our lives be focused too? If we could center our lives and our focus first upon God, would the correct order and urgency then be visible for all the lesser needs? If we failed in the end to sustain ourselves with a life here on earth, would we at least have the assurance that there was something beyond what we were able to attain here?
Could Jesus have been trying to show us that we choose to be the kind of people that we are? Is He saying that we could look to God first? Could we and do we also choose to take care of all the lesser things first? Do we then give to God what is left over of our time, our attention and our efforts? Are we all guilty of taking our earthly and daily lives far more serious than our closeness with God? Do we find a million excuses to hide the fact from ourselves that this is what we are doing?
Is there a solution? Could we begin by hearing Jesus´s words? Could we start by taking His warning seriously? Could we embrace those words and be moved from deep within? Could we get serious about what He is talking about? Could we let it weigh so heavy upon us that we actually do something about it? What will we do? Will we go to our knees? Will we go to God? Will we look harder to Jesus to see how He can remedy our poor condition? Will He draw us closer to the Lord? Will He bring us safely Home to our Father? Will He assist our efforts? Will He show us what to work for now?
Dear Jesus, Your words burn into our souls. We hear You calling us out of this rat-race where we live. We hear You drawing our attention to far more lasting goals. Please let the weight of Your words rest upon us now. Please share with us the urgency of them. What are we turning to in our busy days? Are we looking first to the world? Please help us turn to God. Place the urgency of our lives on our closeness to You! Make the most important part of everything be how much of God is in it. Let us work for that food! Let us feed from our relationship with You and the Father! Let us work for nothing less today we pray!